Saturday, October 27, 2012

3rd Times the Charm

With Hurricane Sandy heading to the tri-state area there was a scramble for hangars and getting planes moved to a safe location.  I made calls Friday to Wilmington Airport since they had hangared me during the last bad storm. It was a simple process, provide proper insurance with the Authority named as insured, pick up a key and get your plane in.  It would prove to be a longer process the past two days to get 08Romeo sheltered.

I followed the new procedures in place for obtaining a hangar for the duration of the storm. I sent an email to the Airport Director and he in turn would now need to get approval from the COO.  While that process was moving forward I contacted my insurance company to provide a cover sheet with the policy info and name the operating authority on the policy.  I received the file from Aviation Insurance and quickly forwarded it to the airport.  Shortly after my email I received a call to tell me I could not lease a hangar for the storm duration, five to seven days, because they only do thirty day leases. For real? there were eleven open hangars and they were not going to be available for people that wanted to get their planes sheltered for the storm.  In fairness I should add that all but one of the hangars did not have electricity on, the hangar doors would need to be operated with a generator.

I quickly got on the phone to secure a new spot.  After a few calls I had two offers, one graciously provided by Red Eagle Avionics and the other by a airport tenant that had access to hangars on the field.  I thanked Dale at Red Eagle but did not want him to have to move planes for me so I went with the T-hangar.

Mary and I had started our Saturday bright and early.  We took care of her Mom's patio furniture then grabbed some dunkin donuts breakfast and headed to the airport.  As we were uncovering 08Romeo a fellow ramp neighbor and long time ham radio friend Bill walked over to say hello.  Bill was looking for hangar space too, I said I thought I could hook him up. I made a call to the man that was helping me and he said he may be able to get him in too.  Mary drove around to the west T's via the local roads while Bill and I taxied our planes across the field.

I was directed to a T-hangar and quickly got 08Romeo settled in.  Bill had to move to a secondary spot since the first had a wave runner that would not allow his Cherokee to fit. Bill was in and we were set, I felt the stress lift off my shoulders. We were invited to come back for the T-Hangar cook out and we agreed that if we got everything done we would return.  Meanwhile we were still hoping that our generator could be fixed that we had dropped off last night at the local shop.  We checked in on the generator and got the bad news, it needed a spring in the carbs fuel bowl, this was a show stopper.  No fear, we have the motor homes 5000 watt genset that we could use and a small 800 watt unit too.

We finished up the few errands we needed to take care of, a stop at Walgreen's and a fuel top off for the SUV.  While Mary was getting her scripts filled I got two calls, one was my brother and sister-in-law in Florida letting me know they had a ride to the house tonight when they get into Philly airport. The second call was the man helping us find hangar space.  We had to head back to the airport to move our plane out of the hangar since the owner had already promised it to another pilot, a simple communications mix up.  We  got back to the airport and swapped hangars, easy peasy, we were covered.  We walked around to the cook out area and said our hello's and goodbyes so we could get home and get the genset hooked up.  As we were leaving I  was told the hangar I was in was an airport hangar not a leased hangar.  This is not good......I immediately made a u-turn and headed back to pull the plane out. Sorry 08Romeo but it's back to the ramp, I can't stay in a hangar that could cause me problems.

Once again we were headed home, this time with a sick feeling in my gut knowing 08Romeo would not be safe.  Back at our ramp there are multiple jets in the process of being made airworthy along with their parts on the ramp, nothing is secured.  Most of the jets are on blocks, no wheels, except for nose gear.  These aircraft are going to be projectiles, I can only hope our baby is far enough away.

We made a liquor store stop and then headed home to get the genset cabled for our sump pumps, refrigerator and entertainment, all the while thinking of our plane.  We ordered pizza and as much as I wanted a double captain and Pepsi I held off.  I still had hope that I would get a call and my contact at the airport would find me a hangar.  The cell phone rang around 5:45 and he found me a spot! I confirmed we were on our way back to the airport, I would meet him there.  This was the fifth trip today but this one was worth it.  Mary and I uncovered 08Romeo, I fired up and taxied back across the field, the tower folks must of thought I was nuts.  Mary hustled the SUV around the airport and met me at the west T's.  08Romeo was safe and secure, I felt like a weight was once again lifted off my shoulders.  On trip six we were finally headed home!  Mary did her little female plane voice and said how happy she was that she would be warm, dry and safe and that she knew we loved her.  Yes, we really do love our plane and I can sleep good tonight knowing she is safe.

Special thanks to the man that made this all happen, I owe you big time. Also a special thanks to the man who owns the hangar. This man moved his plane out of his hangar and secured his plane in a larger two plane hangar so that 08Romeo could have his for the storm.  Pilots helping pilots, the brotherhood in action. I'm a luck guy to have such friends! Time for that 'double'captain and Pepsi.....

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Weekend Plans

Since the summer beach runs are done for the season we are gearing up for a few get-away weekends.  We started our list and have added two locations almost instantly. 
Mary and I want to visit our friends in Rome NY so that will be an easy sprint for 08Romeo. Approximately 240 miles and 2.5 hours airtime. 
Next on the list is Cape Cod and the Christmas Stroll.  There are two we would like to visit but will concentrate on the Hyannis Main Street Stroll first.  We already did the Nantucket Christmas Stroll Weekend and it was perfect. Accommodations are to expensive for my pocket so we'll stay on the Cape and fly over to spend the day, if we run out of things to see and do in Hyannis. The trip to the Cape is also approximately 245 miles and 2.5 hours airtime. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Airplane Utility!

It's not only nice to own a plane for saving travel time to a specific destination but even sweeter when you need a lift to solve logistics. I offered free flight time in 08Romeo to and from Ocean City in order to get Mary and I there to bring home our beach buggy/airport car. Instead, Mike insisted on taking the Diamond DA40. Who am I to argue?
The DA 40 will shave some time off the normal 45-50 minute trip and he can shoot an approach or two while I safety pilot for him. We scheduled for an 8:30 departure this morning from Red Eagle.  Mike was gracious in meeting us there since I can not get back in the West T-hangar gates when we come home. Yes, I work at this airport but I do not have access to the west T's. 
We departed runway one four and climbed out to five thousand five hundred. We faced quartering headwinds of 35 knots through the climb, tapering off to just 12 knots or so at altitude. Mike shot the GPS 14 approach and we had a pretty good crab angle on our way in. A super sweet crosswind landing with the right main touching down followed by the left main and finally the nose gear, textbook stuff.
Mike took on some fuel since it is just $5.50 self serve at KOXB.  I helped out then drove the airport car, our Cabrio, over to the terminal to pick up Mary.  We were headed north. Mike was going to have some fun with the tailwinds, at least until he let down for Wilmington then it would low level shears.
We made a few stops along the way, Lombardi's for lunch then Lewes, DE for the Bake Shop and Loyd's Market for Milton sausage. We also made a quick stop to visit my Brother and his wife but we missed them. They answered our text but we were already back on the road heading north.  A fun day even if it was ground pounding for the ride home.

THANKS Mike B for the hop, you're the man!!